Doing something completely different… yet again

I am always pushing myself to try something new. I’m not sure if I can say that I really enjoy it, but I keep doing it so that must mean something. When I find myself stagnant or still for too long, I get restless and unhappy. I never saw myself as a 9 to 5 person. For instance, I agreed to train for a charity boxing event last summer because it’s something I never thought I would do. I wouldn’t say I really loved getting punched in the face and gut, but I loved being there and seeing how I got better.

I wouldn’t say I really loved getting punched in the face and gut, but I loved being there and seeing how I got better.

This time, I’m going to live in a small town in Bolivia and teach drama in a school there. You might ask, are you a Spanish speaker? No. Are you a teacher? No. Have you ever traveled alone? No. And so it goes, putting myself in terrifying positions – putting myself back at square one. But, I think that’s what I like about it.

The culture in Tupiza is rich and traditional, and yet it is dying. What I know of it is very little at this point, but I hope to learn about the Chichas culture and help the natives there preserve their traditions. I’m certain I will be learning more than I will be teaching.

My background is in theatre. I spent most of my early twenties rolling around on the floor wearing all black and making strange and guttural noises. So, to answer your question: Yes, the stereotypes are fairly accurate when it comes to theatre school.

I always found myself loving and hating it. It was freeing and creative, but I also found it hard to take it too seriously. Acting itself was never enough for me. Directing was more fulfilling because I was creating an entire piece, but more so I think I liked being a supporter and leader. This, too, was not enough for me, and that’s when I finally went traveling.

I spent most of my early twenties rolling around on the floor wearing all black and making strange and guttural noises.

Until now, all of these things have been compartmentalized. The opportunity came up for me to travel to Bolivia, as they were looking for someone to start a drama program in a school there. It was as though all the light bulbs suddenly got switched on. It was the perfect combination of everything I wanted to do, so I got on board.

The reality now, is that I have no idea what it’s going to be like, how I will fit in or if I can even do the job I’m meant to do. I immediately felt the pressure to know everything. I needed to learn Spanish, I needed to create a lesson plan and I needed to do it now.

As the time of my departure rapidly approaches, I have to remind myself that I am a supporter and a leader, but I am also a beginner. I will constantly need to remind myself of this over the next few months. What’s important to me is that I am always learning. At least when I’m terrified, I’m not bored.

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Brianna Wiens is an actor, director and photographer who has worked for a number of theatre companies over the years. She has also started a new drama programme in Bolivia as well as travelling all over the world.

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